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Preventing Wedding Day Wardrobe Malfunctions

So, the bridal gown and bridesmaids gowns have been fitted, steamed and it is time for the big day! Everything is perfect and it is time to finally put them on and SHINE! Pictures are taken, the ceremony is performed and it is time for the reception. Just then, someone steps on the bride’s train and the bustle breaks! What to do? Here’s a few words of advice to remedy those common dress malfunctions that are often inevitable.

Photo Courtesy of Photographs by Jan Thiessen

Bridal gowns tend to be heavy. And when bustled, the back of the gown becomes even heavier. Once a bride really starts moving in her gown, the bustle loops or hooks can break or come undone. We recommend that every bride buys a large pack of the heavy duty safety pins to have on hand for their special day. Oftentimes, we take and put about 10 or so of these pins onto the under crinoline (netting) of the gown. This will allow you to have them right on hand when you may need them. If a bustle comes undone, use lots of these pins to go up under the gown and repair the damage.

I have been to MANY weddings where once the girls start dancing the gowns start loosening up and going “south”. There is nothing worse than watching a bride and her bridesmaids tugging at the top of their gowns all evening. Keep in mind that gowns, just like most clothing, does loosen up as the days goes on. With that in mind, I often recommend having OPTIONAL straps on hand for the latter part of the wedding day. Many gowns automatically come with these straps as part of the purchase. If your gown does not, just ask your seamstress to make them for you out of some of the leftover material from your hem. These straps will have snaps or hook and eyes that will allow you to remove or attach them at will.

Those gowns that do have straps are a nice option for those that aren’t comfortable in a strapless gown. BUT, those straps can break. At my own wedding, one of my bridesmaids straps broke during pictures before the wedding. I had pins already in my crinoline so we just pulled one out and pinned that strap right into place. Prior to the wedding, you could also have your seamstress throw in some extra stitching into the straps as a preventative measure, especially for those small spaghetti straps.

Zippers…oh zippers. When one of these busts, it can be a major catastrophe. But one that can be very avoidable. Always, always, always, hook the hook and eye at the top of the zipper before trying to actually zip the gown. This takes major pressure off of the zipper. And if your gown is very tight through the bodice, have the seamstress add another hook and eye or even two! These little closures can go a long way in helping prevent a zipper mishap. If your zipper does bust, my best suggestion is to start pinning! But most importantly remember, according to Ben Franklin, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Another cause of busted zippers is a gown being too tight. We all understand that brides and bridesmaids want to look phenomenal in their gowns. And having them tight is a good thing but there is such a thing as too tight. I have seen many women choose to go against a bridal shop’s recommendation for sizing. Bridal and bridesmaid size charts are strange. They do not even come close to comparing to regular ready-to-wear clothing like jeans, pants and shirts. So when you order your gown, follow the size chart and DO NOT pay attention to the actual size you are getting. Most formalwear companies size charts are one to two full sizes different than normal clothing. So if you are a size 6, you will more than likely be a size 8 or 10 in formalwear apparel. Also remember, that a gown can almost always be taken in but not always let out. It is better to order bigger and have it molded to fit your body then to try to squeeze into something that is too small. Do you remember the scene from “Maid of Honor”? The one where the bridesmaid is determined to fit into that TOO small gown? And not only can she not breathe, when she sits down, every seam in the gown tears. Don’t be this girl!

I once had a bride that had the most gorgeous flowers in her bouquet. They were bright pink and orange and so was the pollen. Her flowers brushed against her gown and she ended up with a large pinkish-orange spot right on the front of her gown. To make matters worse, she hadn’t even walked down the aisle yet! Have no fear! Spots on your gown can usually be defeated easily. Believe it or not, we have found that IVORY dish detergent works miracles on spots. Just a drop of this dye-free soap on a WHITE cloth with some water will remedy most marks on gowns. Just don’t saturate the stain. A damp cloth, not a soaking one, will work best. Just dab the mark until it disappears.

Overall, a small emergency kit for the wedding day should help with any of these mishaps mentioned above. We recommend the following items be gathered prior to your wedding day and stored somewhere easily accessible throughout your special day:

  • Heavy duty safety pins

  • Hem tape

  • Ivory dish detergent

  • White washcloth

  • Fashion tape (double sided clear tape that many of the stars use to keep gowns in place)

  • Extra hook and eyes

  • Needle and thread kit

Remember that mishaps will happen but do not despair! With a little planning ahead, you will be ready for anything that fate decides to throw at you on your special day. Now that you have all the advice we can offer, pack up your kit and relish your wedding day!

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